In a national study of farm parents before the pandemic, we found that two-thirds had problems with the cost, availability, and quality of child care. Surveying farm parents during the first months of COVID-19, we found that 58% reported that child care became harder during the pandemic, especially for farmers and those with children under 6 years of age.
Women are one of the fastest growing groups of farmers and their role as primary caregivers influences the success of a farm. In our research, women were almost twice as likely as men to report that childcare was an important factor in agricultural decisions, 44% compared to 24% among men.
We also found that most women farmers with childcare problems ran small or medium-sized farms and were much more likely to sell directly to consumers, such as in agricultural markets. These findings have implications for the food system.
The $ 1.8 trillion Biden administration’s new proposal to support families and women in the workforce includes resources for child care infrastructure. These investments could also provide much-needed support for American peasant families.
How to help the next harvest of farmers
For the past ten years, farming families have told us that public insurance options, which facilitate access for the self-employed, universal health insurance and affordable rural child care, will help them grow better food. and stronger companies.